Everyone’s been so focused on the legislative election, but plenty of other stuff is happening. First, Malawi has terminated its relations with the ROC:

Taiwan terminated its 42-year-long diplomatic relations with Malawi after the southeastern African country agreed to switch its allegiance to Beijing, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) announced at an emergency press conference at 6:30pm yesterday, two hours after Lilongwe notified Taipei of its intentions.

“In order to safeguard Taiwan’s national dignity, we hereby announce the Republic of China government will immediately cease all diplomatic ties with the government of Malawi,” MOFA Deputy Minister Yang Tzu-pao (楊子葆) said, decrying Beijing’s continuing oppression of Taiwan.

Yang urged Malawi to follow international protocol by ensuring the safety of Taiwanese nationals who reside or do business in Malawi despite the end of formal diplomatic relations.

Now we’re down to 23 “allies.” Nicaragua and Panama reassured Taiwan they are still on board as President Chen left on a trip to Central America. Meanwhile DPP Presidential candidate Frank Hsieh stepped in as Chairman of the Party since Chen Shui-bian has resigned. Consider my call for professional chairman for the DPP to be reiterated. Longtime commentator Ting-yi Tsai has a conventional analysis of the legislative elections in the Asia Times.

On the home front there’s all sorts of interesting stuff out there. The Taitung Animal Propagation Station, first opened by the Japanese decades ago, is considering opening for tourism. It breeds domesticated animals and carries out research. Taiwan got 3.71 million tourists last year. Our bullet trains are still in the red, but improving, according to the Japan Times. Taiwan shows off a key missile base. Finally, the Guardian has an excellent article on the stagnant incomes of our middle class here in Taiwan — new car sales have fallen to 1987 levels…